Field of Science

New Addition to the Goffinet Lab Website

One of my advisors, Dr. Bernard Goffinet, maintains a website for our bryophyte lab group. Recently two classification outlines were added to the website (under the heading Links), one each for mosses and hornworts. For the mosses there is an alphabetical list of all the current genera at the top of the page. By clicking on a genus name you are whisked away to the location of that genus in the overall classification.

If is has been a while since you thought about classification systems for organisms you might need to bust out your favorite old pneumonic device. The one I learned was Kings Play Cards On Fat Green Stools, which usually helps me to remember Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species. However the latest classification schemes have added another layer above Kingdom, which is Domain. There are three of these and plants fall into the Domain Eukarya. I won't bore you with the history of how we arrived at this three domain system, but if you are interested the wiki page for biological classification has some good info. So for mosses the upper end of the classification goes something like this...

Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Plantae
Phylum Bryophyta

The online classification starts with Subdivisions, a half step below Phylum, and then continues on from there. Besides Subdivision, there are a couple other classification ranks that may be unfamiliar, but they are pretty intuitive. From this list you can see other closely related genera, closely related families, and so on.

The hornwort classification is maintained by one of my labmates, Juan Carlos Villarreal and it comes with detailed descriptions of the individual genera.

Overall I think that it is a great contribution to have this information out on the web. The classification systems will also be coming out in print in the second edition of Bryophyte Biology, from Cambridge University Press. This book will be available to the public in November. Until then, enjoy this advance version of the classifications.

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